By Anne DesBrisay
Seeking options for fine dining in Kanata isn’t exactly an uplifting exercise. If it’s me doing the seeking, I usually end up at the Brookstreet Hotel. Its dining room, Perspectives, was first put on the map during the Michael Blackie era (MB Cuisine is now at the National Arts Centre). Since those heady opening days in 2003 — with Blackie in the kitchen and the utterly delightful sommelier Stéphanie Monnin (now running Art-is-in Bakery with her husband Kevin Mathieson) in charge of the cellar — the food can be a bit hit or miss, but I quite like the express lunch deal at Options, the bar/jazz lounge across from the lobby.
Like Perspectives, Options has a contemporary, clubby feel with its wood veneer panelling, rounded edges, and metallic finishes, all softened with the wobbly white trunks of birch saplings that act as organic dividers between upper and lower spaces. I’m sitting in a lower space this lunch, with a view of the golf course and oversized photos of legendary jazz musicians above me. And I’m pretty much all by myself.
Options’ weekday “Business Lunch” is a $23 three-course service on a “tonga tray,” which turns out to be a square white plate into which are inserted compartments, each filled with a course. (A bit like a bento box.) Ten minutes after ordering, my tray arrives, filled in with a cup of the day’s soup — curried zucchini with a crème fraiche drizzle — a filet of striped bass, moist fleshed and crisp skinned, paired with a sharp but honey-sweetened gastrique, and served on a roasted fennel purée with rapini and carrots. The sweet is an espresso brownie with a pleasant caramel sauce. An abstemious lunch, with tap water for company, but a double espresso spikes the bill by four bucks.
Open: Business Lunch available Monday to Friday, 11:30am to 1:30pm
Options Lounge, Brookstreet Hotel, 525 Leggett Drive, 613-271-1800.